Happy Thanksgiving!

turkeycenterLHappy Thanksgiving from the Embry-Riddle Career Services Office!


Thanks for Giving

During the season of thanksgiving, it is important to remember to thank your career and professional connections for their advice, assistance, encouragement and support.  Sharing a seasonal message, a helpful article, a catch-up message or a simple “thank you” with those in your network is a powerful way to let them know that you appreciate everything they do for you throughout the year.



Focus on Veterans

By Brian Carhide

photo 2Recently, I had the opportunity to attend the first annual Veterans Institute, Heroes Work Here event at Walt Disney World in Orlando. The Walt Disney Company began an initiative in 2012 and set a goal to hire 1,000 Veterans over 3 years; like everything else Disney does, they went above and beyond by hiring 2,500 Veterans thus far. Bob Iger, CEO of Disney, and First Lady, Michelle Obama, spoke at the event, both recognizing the great potential of these men and women who served our country, and shared insightful information on how to capture this talent.

The First Lady and Vice President Joe Biden launched an initiative called Joining Forces a few years ago, bringing together a team of subject matter experts, to assist Veterans in making a seamless transition from the end of their service to the private sector; an inter-agency task force program, which is now mandatory for all individuals separating from military service. The program is designed to bridge the gap to the civilian workforce and make our heroes career ready!

A key topic that has been a challenge, not only for Veterans, but for career advisors is how we articulate the military attributes into a business application. Much of the conference was focused on successfully identifying those attributes and how they can be applied.  Below is a reference that can be used to help Veterans look at their military attributes and how they could be of value to a potential employer:

Veteran Attribute                                                                Business Implication
Entrepreneurial………………………………………………………..Adept to taking ownership
Assume a high level of trust……………………………………….Trust in co-workers and leaders
Skill transfer…………………………………………………………….Rapidly apply skills from the military
Advanced technical training………………………………………Adept at the latest technology
Act decisively in the face of uncertainty & change………. Skilled at making decisions with imperfect info.
Resilient………………………………………………………………….Bounce back quickly from adversity
Advanced team building skills……………………………………Rapidly integrate into project teams
Strong Organizational commitment……………………………Loyal to leaders and organizations
Cross cultural experience…………………………………………..Cultural literacy to include languages
Comfortable in diverse work settings………………………….Seeks diverse work groups
(provided by Syracuse University – Institute for Veterans and Military Families, http://vets.syr.edu/)

The conference also presented a panel of Veterans who currently worked at The Walt Disney Company and provided them an opportunity to share their stories and challenges. One of the panelists spoke about one of her challenges, something I took for granted, but completely understood the Veteran’s perspective. The Veteran told the story of her first networking event and how the dress for the event was business attire; however, the panelist was unsure what business attire included. We think of those in the military, always looking their finest and dressed to impress, but in reality their best dress is the same attire every day.  Another challenge mentioned was a Veteran’s knowledge and ability to maximize the use of social media in the job search. The military places limitations on service individuals and the ability to use social media, many times for the sake of national security, which does not allow them to develop social media profiles.

photo 1The conference was nothing less than spectacular, from high level individuals speaking to the great stories of those individuals who fought for the very freedom that is provided to us every day! These are talented individuals, and there is no doubt they deserve our service in providing them the tools and resources to be successful after their separation from service. Beyond the resources the Career Services Office provides to our Veteran population at Embry-Riddle, I leave you with this, a robust list of other resources, to help our Veterans successfully bridge that gap.


Brian Carhide has more than 20 years of professional aviation experience. He spent many years as a professional pilot, including experience as a charter and airline pilot. He has been a leader in guiding young aviators in higher education at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and is the Executive Director of Career Services.

Industry/Career Expo Success Story: John Lobdell

By John Lobdell

John is a First Year student in the Bachelor of Science in Aerospace Engineering program at Embry-Riddle’s Daytona Beach campus

DSC_2692The Industry/Career Expo is one of the most publicized events on campus. Starting from the time you arrive in early fall, you are constantly reminded of it through e-mail, posters, teachers, and even certain organizations. And for good reason–some of the top aerospace companies in the world attend, looking for students to hire as interns or full-time employees. It’s an amazing opportunity–but one that is highly competitive, as hundreds of students are contending for the same positions. It’s really quite frightening to think about the odds of actually obtaining one of these positions; because of this, many students–especially freshmen–feel as though it’s pointless to even try. I was one of those freshmen for a while.

It didn’t take long from the time I arrived on campus to realize how big of an event the Expo was going to be, from all the advertising. Fairly early on, I knew that I wanted to attend, but actually getting an interview–much less a position–with one of these companies was far from my mind. I was a freshman after all, and freshmen don’t get internships. The idea of getting an internship for the summer after my freshman year didn’t even cross my mind until I actually met an upperclassman who had gotten one his freshman year. At first it was just a small thought; I figured it would be a great experience to get an internship my freshman year, but I also thought it highly unfeasible. Then I met several more upperclassman who had gotten internships their freshmen years, and I started to think that maybe it was possible.

At that point, the idea really started to sink in. Rather than just a thought, it became a goal. I realized how unfeasible it was, but I was determined to at least try. That way, even if I failed, I would still have a much better idea of what I needed to do for next year. But I really didn’t know what to expect at the Expo, and had no idea how I should prepare. I decided that the best thing would be to go to one of the Expo preparation sessions, hoping that it would give me at least an idea of what to expect. Little did I realize just how helpful one of these sessions would be. They went over everything from what to expect from the recruiters, to how to format your resume, to what to wear, and everything in between. By the time the Expo came, I had gone to several of the different sessions and was feeling quite prepared. And then, after weeks of waiting and preparation, it was time for the Industry/Career Expo.

On the day of the Expo, I was feeling quite confident. My resume had been polished several times over, I had a nice suit that looked professional, I knew exactly who I wanted to talk to, and I had a general idea what to expect from them. I arrived at the ICI Center, walked in, and suddenly… lost all confidence. How could I honestly have thought that I could get an internship? I hadn’t built up my resume nearly enough to be competitive. I began walking around, eying out the different companies. Finally, I got up the courage to go up to one. Figuring that I was ready, I decided to go to one of the companies that I had researched before the Expo. I got in line and waited until it was finally my turn to talk to one of the recruiters. I walked up, shook his hand, handed him my resume, and got so nervous I couldn’t remember what I was going to say. I mumbled and stuttered every time he asked me a question and am fairly sure that my words were not completely coherent. It was a disaster.

I felt pretty unconfident after I finished talking to that first recruiter. I lost all hope of getting an internship. I was just too nervous to be able to accurately display myself to recruiters. So I decided to just go to various companies and practice talking with them. I went to several companies, but although I was slowly growing more used to talking to the recruiters, I was still nervous, and it was obvious. Soon it came time for me to leave for my first class, so I decided that I would visit one more booth before I left. I had noticed General Electric‘s booth earlier in the day and decided that I would talk to them. As I began walking to the booth, I started to think about some advice that a friend of mine had given me before the Expo. “Be yourself,” he said.  So I decided to go up and talk to the recruiter not as a recruiter, but as a friend…someone I knew. When I got to the booth, I walked up to the recruiter and just had a normal conversation with him. By treating him as a friend, I was able to dispel the nervousness. He asked me a few questions about my resume, and at the end, he pointed to the top of my resume where my phone number was, and asked, “Is this where we can reach you?”

Later that day, I got a phone call asking if I could come in for an interview the following afternoon. I, of course, accepted. That night, I did as much research on GE as I could in order to prepare for the interview. I wanted to know exactly what to expect. Going into the interview the next day, I was prepared with not only as much information as possible, but also the same mindset that I had when I had talked to the recruiter the previous day. Treating the interviewer as just another person that I can have a normal conversation with helped once again calm my nerves and allow me to accurately represent myself. The interview went well, and I left feeling quite confident. And about a week later, I got the e-mail offering me a summer internship with GE.

It is not impossible for a freshman to get an internship, as I can attest to. If you want one, you will be able to get one; you just need to put in the effort. Many freshmen feel that they don’t have enough experience to get an internship, but the truth of the matter is that companies that hire freshmen interns realize that they won’t have experience. What these companies are looking for is not a vast amount of experience, but passion…passion about what you do and about what they do. And they are also looking for people who can just be themselves. So when you talk to either a recruiter or interviewer, just be yourself, and show off all of your skills and talents. Find a way to weave in what you’re passionate about, in particular if it has to do with the job position. When all you have to go with is a resume, it’s a little more difficult, but the same concept applies. Get involved with clubs and activities that correspond to your major or your desired career. Not only will these things provide invaluable experience, if you are truly passionate about your major, they will also be enjoyable. And having them on your resume will show that passion.

Finally, one of the keys to getting an internship is being prepared. Do your research on whatever companies you may be interested in. And take advantage of Career Services and all that it offers. The sessions on what to expect at the Expo were invaluable to me; I doubt I would have gotten the internship had I not gone to them. They tell you exactly what to expect, and they give you many useful tips to help you get an interview. Make sure your resume has been polished several times over as well; a poorly formatted resume can give a bad impression to recruiters and may keep you from getting the opportunity to express yourself more fully through an interview. I encourage everyone, especially freshmen, to aim for an internship because as long as you are willing to put in the effort, there is nothing stopping you from obtaining one.

Learning How to Perfect Your Soft Skills

by Valerie Kielmovitchconversation

What are soft skills? Why do they matter to an employer?  Unlike technical skills, which are specific to an occupation, soft skills are also known as interpersonal or people skills.  This skill set encompasses communication style, conflict resolution, team building, strategic thinking and more.  Technical skills are needed in most positions, but soft skills help contribute to a person’s ability to perform a job well and fit in with a company’s culture.  Employers want to hire well-rounded individuals who have both the technical expertise and the ability to work and communicate effectively with co-workers.

Many candidates obtain Bachelor of Science degrees and maintain high GPAs, but what sets one candidate apart from another?  Sometimes it comes down to their soft skills.

The top soft skills that employers look for in candidates vary based on the position.  However, many employers emphasize communication, positive attitude, professionalism, team work and flexibility.

How does one improve their interpersonal skills?

  • Practice
  • Be self-aware: ensure you are using eye contact and that your words flow well together
  • Ability to discuss skills/abilities in an interview setting
  • Brush up on writing ability
  • Join clubs/organizations where collaboration/team work is needed

To perfect your soft skills, work to enhance your abilities and develop skills you may lack. Feedback from trusted peers, supervisors and mentors is a great way to identify areas in which you may need improvement.  Once you know what to work on, practice these skills, utilize resources, including Career Services resources available to you, and implement soft skills in your job search and professional career.

Valerie Kielmovitch has been working as a Program Manager in the Career Services Office at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University since 2010.  She completed her undergraduate degree at the University of Central Florida and Master of Education specializing in Higher Education and Student Affairs at the University of South Carolina.  Valerie has a diverse background in the field of higher education from residence life to career services.

Veterans Day Thank You

To all who have served, we thank you and your families.


Job Search Scams

by Kristy Amburgey

“You are guaranteed a job with no effort on your part!”

“Make money while sitting at home!”

 “You will be making over $100,000 per week in a matter of no time.  All you have to do is invest in some upfront training.”

Sounds intriguing, right?  It might be tempting to click on the link or give them Danger Job Scama call if you are looking for a job, especially one that makes you tons of money.  But you should hold that thought for just a minute.

Unfortunately, there are people out there who will take advantage of your desire to find lucrative employment opportunities.  It is important to be aware of job search scams and other ways that people will try to steal your identity, take your money or otherwise involve you in something that will negatively impact your daily life.

Here are several ways to help protect yourself as you conduct your job search.

  • Always research the company before making any commitments or accepting opportunities; use the Better Business Bureau, Federal Trade Commission and online research to source out information about them
  • Review the contact information provided; if the email address does not seem valid, the phone number goes to nowhere or the address is to a P.O. Box, be wary
  • If you find a position on an aggregate site, always go the company’s site to see if the opening is actually available
  • Do not use your social security number on resumes, cover letters or other job search documents; the exceptions are government-based resumes and actual applications with specific companies that you have vetted
  • Do not pay for the opportunity to work
  • Avoid giving out any financial or credit card information to anyone; companies do valid credit and backgrounds checks, but they will typically only do so once you have been extended an offer, have accepted a position or have signed an authorization document
  • Job descriptions that are vague or unclear may be a warning that the job is questionable

Job search scams vary, and new ones pop up all the time.  In general, you want to avoid these types of situations.

  • Financial scams: these scary situations can include expecting you to pay to apply for a job, to send money to a person or group, to transfer money on behalf of a person, to pay for placement in a position and more
  • Promises scams: these companies promise or guarantee you a job or extreme money-making opportunities; these types of scams can be hard to differentiate from legitimate jobs, so you may have to trust your instincts about unrealistic promises
  • Work at home scams: these scenarios are when you are offered “at home” work, but they turn out to be things like multi-level marketing schemes or pay-for-products/software/fees scams; it is important to know that a number of companies offer legitimate opportunities for telecommuting
  • Buying scams: in this situation, a company expects you to purchase something from them to get additional help (trainings, etc.)
  • Help you scams: some companies may offer to share your resume or represent you to other companies; legitimate headhunters may contact you for employment opportunities, but be wary of people who don’t have actual opportunities or ask you to sign an exclusive with them
  • Selling your name scams: some companies have you apply for positions, where no position actually exists, and then sell your name and information to third parties (like telemarketers)

Please know that there are many unethical, uncomfortable or unusual situations out there that you may face when job searching.  For example, you may be placed in a situation, without warning, to sell something as part of an interview, or you may have employers request atypical job application documents. For some companies, these are valid and necessary requests as part of their application or interview process.  You will have to research and rely on your instincts to determine if opportunities and companies are valid options for your situation so that you are not scammed out of your own personal well-being.

Resources and References:

Kristy Amburgey is the Associate Director of Career Services – Daytona Beach campus and currently manages marketing and employer relations for the department.  She has been with Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University for approximately 10 years and with Career Services for nine years.

6 Ways To Use Your School’s Alumni Network To Land A Job

This week, we have a guest post from Val Matta.  Val is the vice president of business development at CareerShift, a comprehensive job hunting and career management solution for university career centers that gives students and alumni complete control over their job search. Connect with CareerShift on LinkedIn. 

by Val MattaCareerShift

image002As graduation draws near, college students become stressed about employment. After spending the majority of their lives studying, they suddenly have a new, often unfamiliar task: the post college job search.

But many college students don’t realize the bounty of resources available to them for the job search. Beyond employment agencies and company websites, college alumni networks are a great resource for potential job opportunities and employment ideas.

But just how can college students tap into the power of alumni networks? What are the proper routes to take, and what’s the right etiquette for approaching a potential networking contact? Here are six ways college students can use their college alumni network to land a job:

1. Start early. Don’t wait until the minute you need a job to start tapping into your school’s alumni network. While it’s never too late to get started, you should try to make networking connections throughout your entire college career so you have a good database of personal networking contacts to tap into after graduation.

2. Find contacts. Talk to your career services center to see if they keep a database of alumni willing to talk to students about their professional careers. Many colleges and universities do this. Most schools also have alumni relations offices that can put you in contact with professional alumni in your industry or field, or those that have relationships with employment agencies.

3. Get involved. Joining campus organizations–or even off-campus organizations–can help you to connect with current students and gain access to alumni who have participated in the same groups. Consider student clubs, volunteer groups, community centers, political organizations, student newspapers or blogs, theatre groups, or other organizations that pique your interest. Not only will you gain a great addition to your skill set and resume, but you’ll glean direct access to a large pool of alumni with similar career goals.

4. Tap into social media. In today’s technological landscape, the power of social media — sites like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn — is unmatched when it comes to connecting professionals across time and place. Brand yourself on your personal social media accounts by ensuring your image remains professional and focused on your industry, but don’t forget to showcase your interests, unique traits, and personality as well. Once you’ve established a professional personal brand on social media, you’ll feel more comfortable reaching out to alumni contacts. Alumni and employment agencies often reach out to students with completed LinkedIn profiles.

5. Start a conversation first. Approaching someone by saying “I need a job” isn’t going to get you anywhere. You’ll just look desperate and, even worse, inconsiderate. Whether you’re talking to alumni contacts via email, phone, or social media, always start a conversation first, and talk job opportunities later. Find a common point of interest with your new networking contact–it’s easy with social media–and go from there. Reply to their tweets, comment on a blog post, or send an email with a news article or online video you think they may like.

6. Set up an informational interview. Informational interviews are a great way to pick the brains of professionals you admire. Informational interviews can often lead to advice, job openings, or introductions to more networking connections. To set up an informational interview, simply ask your networking contact to meet you for lunch or coffee. Bring a copy of your resume and a few questions you want to ask. Keep the conversation short–less than 30 minutes–and follow up afterward via email or phone to thank them for their time.

Tapping into the power of an alumni network doesn’t have to be difficult. If college students are proactive about the networking process, they’ll have no problems establishing themselves in entry-level positions after college.

Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University‘s alumni system is called eaglesNEST and is a great resource.

%d bloggers like this: